Hello People! As I’ve been hit by the flu and new obligations in addition to pre-existing ones, I asked my good friend and fellow Mentalist fan @CJDavey to write this week’s review. He did an excellent job and on such short notice! I can say I agree exactly with 99.5% with everything he wrote. The other 5% I’ll express in the comments 😉 Thanks Connor!
Following his acquittal of all charges in last week’s season 4 premiere, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is reinstated as a consultant for the CBI once again. CBI Director Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston) informs Jane that whilst Lisbon (Robin Tunney) is suspended and the rest of the team reassigned, he must work with a new team of agents lead by Agent Ray Haffner (guest star Reed Diamond.) Annoyed at Bertram’s punishment of Lisbon, Jane sets out to divide his new team and bring together his old one, all whilst getting Lisbon her job back and solving the case of a murdered gym instructor.
After a brilliant season premiere (given an 8.5 on this very blog) I am happy to say that Little Red Book improves on such quality, and does so in a way that is able to move the story and characters forward whilst remaining one of the most entertaining shows currently on the air. It involves some refreshingly fun Jane moments (nice to see him retain this side, after everything that has happened), several cases of excellent character development, very welcome continuity in the shape of returning characters and one thing we ALL like to see – team love. Last week’s premiere and this episode even more so, work together as a good wrap up to the fallout from the events of 3.23/24 Strawberries and Cream Parts I and II and in part ables the story to move forward from here without leaving the finale to feel like a waste. As for the emotional fallout, that’s not over by a long shot – but would we have it any other way? Massive thanks to @mentalistwriter for a truly brilliant episode. A perfect score of 10/10
Detailed AKA Humongous Analysis (spoilers galore)
Very Important Scene (VIS) #1 – Opening – Jane and Bertram
– Jane seems calm, but a bit on edge. This is supported by his body language, as he taps his finger repeatedly on his lips. After Bertram presents Jane with his Identification, bringing Jane back into the fold, Jane queries:
“What about Lisbon?”
Jane’s whole demeanour here suggests he is uninterested in his own reinstatement, something backed up by his persistence in asking Bertram just why he is punishing Lisbon. He goes on to state that Bertram is “dumping” her, that re-hiring him and firing Lisbon is “perverse” and even going as far as taking the blame for the Red John operation himself claiming “My operation. It was my operation.” Jane’s tone as he says this is clearly one of annoyance, though he knows his place still and doesn’t become too irate at the risk of ticking Bertram off more than he already is. Instead, as Bertram tells Jane to go out into the field with Haffner and his new team ASAP, he says calmly “no, I don’t think so.” Whilst he does then leave and join Haffner’s team, with the way things turn out in the end it is fair to say that Jane is true to his word. It is clear he has a plan.
The main aspect of this scene I would like to point out is just how much Jane clearly wanted Lisbon back, and how visibly unhappy he is that she is being made an example of. Whilst Jane is my favourite character on the show I have felt that he should’ve backed Lisbon up more in the past, especially when it comes to her being reprimanded for his actions. An example of this would be in 2.19 Blood Money after Lisbon was suspended for failing to keep Jane under control. Whilst Jane was by no means happy with this and though he did hatch a plan to get her back (similar to this episode’s plan in fact, in that it involved him helping her solve a case to take to the powers that be) his entire attitude here, particularly in this scene, was different. It was more determined and in turn more caring. The fact that Jane openly admits to the divisions head honcho that it was his fault further amplifies this point. This was refreshing to see, and was only the first of many moments in the episode where the team’s solidarity as a family unit shone through. This was something I openly called for leading up to the start of this season, so it’s fair to say this made me very happy. Anyway, Jane doesn’t push the boat out with Bertram as he knows he stands a much better chance at getting Lisbon’s job back through a carefully thought out plan.
Very Important Scene (VIS) #2 – Jane visits Lisbon at her apartment
Jane visits Lisbon, which results in us getting to see inside her apartment for the first time since 2.03 Red Badge. I know I was excited by this too. Jane immediately shows his concern for Lisbon, asking how her arm is. Lisbon replies, stating that it is better due to physical therapy. Now, I am no body language expert but Lisbon’s here is coming across as adorably awkward, possibly due to having Jane in her apartment (she wasn’t exactly in the state of mind to care about this in Red Badge.) As for why she’d feel this way? I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve already seen another reviewer point out exactly the same thing so I know I’m not alone in this line of thought. Just look at her face when she sighs, before biting her lip and looking to the side. I think the best and most likely reason for this is that Lisbon, being the ‘lone wolf’ that she is, simply isn’t used to having people visit her outside work – especially a colleague. But of course, Jane is more than a colleague – he’s a close friend, something which becomes more apparent as the conversation progresses. Jane asks about Haffner, leading to a surprised “you’re back at work?” from Lisbon. Her surprised response along with Jane’s subsequently stilted answer suggests that whilst Lisbon claims to be unperturbed by her suspension, she does in fact care and Jane realises this. Lisbon goes on to state a few titbits on Haffner, including his use of “creative surveillance techniques”, something which becomes important in Jane’s plan and solving the case. One thing that does seem sincere on Lisbon’s part is when she claims that losing her job is “worth it” because they got Red John. Seriously, this is the biggest indication yet of just how much Lisbon has come to care for Jane. Can you imagine Lisbon saying this at all in the first two seasons? The fact that she seems willing to sacrifice her job in order to have caught and killed Red John as Jane had always wanted, in spite of always condemning this herself, shows for me anyway just how close these two have become. As for those Lisbon fans out there wondering why Lisbon isn’t angry at Jane for shooting Timothy Carter, the complete opposite in fact – she’s happy for him, I tell you this: The main bulk of the Jane/Lisbon journey in season 3 was made up of Jane’s attempts to bring Lisbon around to the idea of him killing Red John and to, in a way, make her more like him. This was brought up numerous times in @brainyreviewer’s reviews last season, and it does not surprise me at all that Lisbon has adopted this approach so far this season. Do I think that Lisbon would’ve let Jane go ahead with it had she been there at the mall? Not at all. But with it all said and done, Lisbon seems to be happy for Jane – she just wants her friend to move on and find some peace. This proves Jane’s actions in S3 to have been at least partially effective. The best example of this was in 3.14 Blood for Blood, in which Jane convinced Lisbon to let a girl off the hook, a girl who had been abused by her Father and who in turn shot him dead. Jane was essentially attempting to get Lisbon to ignore her cop instincts and to do what may be considered ‘right’ in the long run, rather than what her duty as a cop entails. Was Jane’s shooting of Timothy Carter right whether he was Red John or not? As a rather left wing person, I say not, but the important thing about this show is that – so far anyway – it has not preached to the audience on whether Jane’s actions were right or wrong, it has simply been faithful to the characters and what their actions or reactions would likely be to the given situations.
Another question I’m seeing a lot of fans ask is why Jane doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of guilt for killing the wrong man. I don’t know what to think about this really. I hate to politicise again, but I’ve always considered Jane’s views towards criminals more right wing in nature. This could be a result of what happened with Red John or he may have always been this way, but it was particularly apparent on 3.04 Red Carpet Treatment in which Jane expresses his displeasure at being woken up in order to investigate the dead body of a convicted rapist and murderer. Whilst there’s no proof as to whether Timothy Carter was a murderer or not, Jane knows he worked for a killer and certainly did some very ‘evil’ things. I’m not suggesting for a moment that Jane would’ve still gone through with the shooting had he known Carter wasn’t Red John, he wouldn’t have. What I am saying is that the point mentioned above, along with the fact that Jane believed Carter to be Red John at the time (Jane doing what he felt was right in the moment) allow Jane’s conscience to be clear. Well, on this matter anyway.
Now, where was I? Jane goes on to say that they “didn’t get Red John”, before Lisbon hits back with the opposite opinion. As Jane goes off on his explanation as to why Red John is still alive, Lisbon interrupts with a hint of worry in both her face and voice “Jane…” Robin Tunney did an excellent job as always here. It may have only lasted a split second, but that subtle look on her face expresses perfectly Lisbon’s worry for Jane’s state of mind. Now, I hate to blow my own trumpet (ok, I don’t hate it) but Jane goes on to confirm my theory from the premiere as to when he realised Timothy Carter wasn’t Red John, in that it must’ve been Red John who got the gun taken from the crime scene and the phone swapped. I said in the comments for last week’s reviews that when the two detectives tell Jane that this is the case, he then realises that he shot the wrong man.
Lisbon then poses a very interesting possibility. What if Timothy Carter was Red John, and he went to the mall knowing that Jane may take extreme action and planned the gun and phone extraction beforehand as a result of this – messing with Jane’s head in the aftermath, making him believe that Red John is still out there when in fact he is long gone. Thinking about it, it’s a real possibility and one that would be very effective. Red John would’ve condemned Jane to a life of torment chasing, as Lisbon says, a man he’s already killed. This reminded me of something series creator Bruno Heller said in an interview soon after the Season 3 finale, something which in fact makes a lot of sense if you actually consider Lisbon’s theory to have any element of truth to it. Heller says “Thing is, Red John is a master of the mind game. If Red John wanted to die, maybe this is how he wanted to die.” Whilst I still choose to believe that Red John is still out there, this theory cannot be completely ignored. Yes, even with what happens in the last scene.
Very Important Scene (VIS) #3 – Grace in therapy
This was a short, but very effective and important scene. After summarizing the situation with O’Laughlin, Van Pelt begins to wonder if talking about will help at all. Her therapist tries to explain why it needs to be talked about. Van Pelt responds by letting out an embittered laugh, before darkly jesting “could’ve been worse…I could have married him.” This response and Graces generally dismissive attitude towards her therapy sessions in this episode are a good continuation of what we saw the character heading towards in last week’s premiere, and I hope is indicative of what’s to come as a whole for the season. Seeing her being this angry isn’t nice, but it’s endearing in a way and it’s very exciting to see a less naive Grace coming out this season and I know I’m not alone in this opinion. Once again, Amanda Righetti played this perfectly so praise must go to her for bringing out what could be considered a ‘darker’ Grace for season 4.
Very Important Scene (VIS) #4 – The ‘secret meeting’
The team (minus Lisbon) meet secretly to discuss the situation. Jane tells them that they have one chance to get Lisbon her job back. The plan is to crack the Kuzmenko case before Haffner does, using their success as leverage with Bertram to get him to re hire her. As Jane hatches the plan to set up Haffner with his ‘book of lovers’, Rigsby shows reluctance to go along with the plan:
“I don’t like it. It’s insubordination we’re already on the edge here.”
Grace: “It’s for the boss.”
Rigsby: “This goes wrong and we’re out, they’re not gonna give us another chance.”
I’ve seen many people criticising Rigsby for his hesitation to help Lisbon, one reviewer even called him a “weasel.” Whilst I certainly wouldn’t go that far (who doesn’t love Rigsby?) it does worry me slightly that whilst Van Pelt and Cho are so up for helping, Rigsby doesn’t seem to share the same ‘do what it takes’ attitude when it comes to helping out someone who is not just a colleague, but a friend. The worst thing is this isn’t the first time Rigsby has adopted this approach. In 2.03 Red Badge when Lisbon is being accused of murdering a convicted paedophile, the rest of the team seems to support her pleas of ‘not guilty’ whilst Rigsby doesn’t seem so sure. I believe he said something along the lines of “if Lisbon had the guts to kill him, she has the guts to serve her time.” Or something to that effect. It’s surprising to see this issue raising its ugly head again, especially when I consider Lisbon and Rigsby’s relationship to be one of the healthiest on the show (who else remembers their scene together in 3.21 Like a Redheaded Stepchild?) On this occasion it could just be a coincidence that they chose Rigsby to show hesitation, feeling they needed at least one reluctant party considering the high risk factor involved in the plan. Either way, I do hope they revisit this in some capacity. Maybe next time Lisbon needs help he’ll be the first to step up to the plate rather than the tentative last.
Overall though, this was another example of the team showing their strength and yes, their love for each other. Jane’s planning and Cho/Van Pelt’s pretty immediate ‘yes’ to said plan was moving. More than ever our team is coming across as a family. This is of course something you’d expect after 4 seasons, but it’s great to see it working so well regardless.
Very Important Scene (VIS) #5 – Lisbon visits Sally Carter
There’s so much to say about this scene, that I’ll try my best to keep it down to a short couple of paragraphs to avoid this review becoming even more long winded than it already is. LaRoche is a truly complex and interesting character. He quite happily helps Lisbon in her request to visit Sally Carter (wife of the late Timothy Carter) in prison. He says:
“I don’t mind Teresa, Bertram has treated you poorly.”
LaRoche being so nice here didn’t exactly surprise me, but it was nice to see. I (and Reviewbrain) have said on numerous occasions that we believe LaRoche to be a genuinely nice man at Heart, and it became increasingly obvious that he actually likes Lisbon. I for one never considered him ‘evil’ or ‘mean.’ Sure, he was creepy at times but consider the context. For all of his appearances last season he was often interrogating people, people he suspected of murdering Todd Johnson. In this situation, of course he was going to use his darker side, likely in an attempt to unnerve and intimidate each suspect. The same goes for 3.17 Bloodstream onwards as Hightower’s duties are signed over to him. As the temporary boss of the unit, any alleged intimidation on his part was likely an attempt to assert his authority rather than coming from some sort of malicious intent. This is apparent in said episode when he puts Cho in charge before reinstating Lisbon at the episodes end. It was to show that he will not tolerate any disrespect on the part of his agents, and to be honest he was completely justified in doing this. None of this ever made LaRoche a bad man. I mean c’mon, he owns a fluffy white dog. Regardless of all this however, I was not expecting what happened next. As he says his goodbyes, he hugs Lisbon – and quite lovingly, might I add. What is it with Lisbon and getting hugs from her bosses? That’s Minelli, Hightower and LaRoche now who have all ended up squeezing her tiny frame. She needn’t worry about new boss Luther Wainwright joining in 4.04 Ring around the Rosie as I’m sure he’ll be under her spell in no time. Anyway, don’t get me wrong LaRoche certainly does have a dark side (what the hell is in that Tupperware box?!) but this last scene of his all but confirms my suspicion that he is a big cuddly teddy bear deep down in that complicated, layered Heart of his. Goodbye J.J., we hardly knew ye.
As they enter Sally Carters cell, they discover her face down in the bunk with blood gushing from her wrist and onto the floor where Lisbon discovers a note. As Jane arrives, she tells him she came to ask if her husband was Red John before reading a note that confirms her suspicions. Jane then takes the note and reads it intently. Jane’s focus as he reads said note suggests that he himself is starting to become unsure as to whether Timothy Carter was or was not Red John. This is backed up by the final scene…
Very Important Scene (VIS) #6 – Jane and Rosalind visit the morgue
After Jane’s plan succeeds, Haffner is reprimanded by Bertram and Lisbon reinstated to her post, Jane goes to the morgue with Rosalind Harker. To recap, she is the blind former lover of Red John who we met in 1.23 Red Johns Footsteps. When we saw her last, she was adamant that her man Roy Tagliaferro was a good man and couldn’t have been Red John. This time, Jane assures her that Roy and Red John were in fact the same man. As she feels Timothy Carters cold, dead face she seems to get quite emotional before saying:
“I never met this man. I have no idea who he is.”
The fact that Jane went out of his way to contact Rosalind and get her to ID Carters body shows, for me anyway, that a seed of doubt had been planted in his mind both by Lisbon and by the note that Sally Carter had left, if indeed it was her that left it. That possibility raises another question; does Red John want Jane to think he’s dead so that he can then strike again unsuspectingly on those he loves? I’ll get into that another time, but I’m sure we’ll see soon. Either way, it doesn’t seem to have worked. As Rosalind confirms that this man is not Roy Tagliaferro (an alias), Jane’s face tells the whole story – whilst he was sure before that his family’s killer is still out there, now he is certain. It was brilliant acting by Simon in this case, as his facial expression at this revelation oozed fear and realisation, two things I’m sure Jane was ridden with in those last few seconds. As the door closes on Carters body – and Jane – Blake Neely’s chilling music kicks in, the screen goes black and we too are hit with the harsh reality: Red John is still out there and he will be back one way or another.
This episode has so many excellent character moments that I missed out a few others, and there were also many other highlights I couldn’t quite fit into the VIS’s. As a result, here is a short list of other moments from the episode that I particularly liked:
– Jane climbing over the body before claiming “this man is dead, I’m all but certain of it.”
– The whole sequence of events in which Jane messed with Haffners team, particularly the Tork/Niskin plot.
– The fact that Jane liked Lisbon’s tea, at first approving with an “mmm” and then even asking if he could take it away with him. She clearly knows the man well.
– The whole plan with Cho being an informant on Jane’s actions with Haffner was very well played. Of course I knew that it was part of Jane’s plan, but Tim Kang played it brilliantly – enough to plant the tiniest seed of doubt in my mind. Even if it was only for a second.
– Jane using some of the gym equipment. Hilarious. “Ooooh feelin that, yeahhh.”
– Jane reading up on his baseball facts before reading one to Haffner.
– Jane hypnotizing Agent Masterson.
– The team in Lisbon’s apartment and Grace saying “we want to work for you.” Genuinely touching and another indication of their solidarity as a team.
– Jane asking Lisbon for “the glowy spray stuff.”
– Jane stating that he is “about 68.2% sure” the plan will work.
– Jane telling Bertram that he “will continue to have a problem” if he doesn’t re hire Lisbon.
– The penultimate scene in Lisbon’s office with her and Jane. It had a feeling of everything being back to normal and ‘all is right with the world’ to it.
Best Scene: Jane and Rosalind visit the morgue
For the reasons I have already mentioned above, really. Some may see it as re heated servings of the ending from the premiere, but to me this served as the ultimate confirmation that Red John is still out there and it was played out very well. It was genuinely chilling and included some brilliant acting from both Simon Baker and Alicia Witt.
Thoughts on Red John (Particularly the ‘He is many’ theory…)
The way I see it, the ‘he is many’ theory is becoming more and more likely. Now, I must stress exactly what I mean when I say ‘many’ because many fans seem to get this confused. I do not simply mean that the Red John network has many people in it, because we already know this to be true. The question is: Does ‘Red John’ have one head mastermind behind it, one man who leads his people and who killed Jane’s family personally or has there in fact always been more than one Red John? If the ‘many’ theory turns out to be true I see it coming out this way; Red John is an organisation/cult/church whatever you want to call it, that has gained countless followers over the years but started with a small group of founding members. These founding members could include people such as Orville Tanner, Brett Stiles, Timothy Carter and possibly even Kristina Frye among others. The fact is Red John HAS to have either been started by one man, the one they call Red John or by a small group of people who killed in the name of Red John. It can’t simply be “Red John is a large number of people all over the state and it always has been” because Jane and the audience need a villain to go after, not to mention the fact that such a group has to be started by either an individual or a small collection of people. It’s impossible to see it any other way. Too many fans respond to the ‘many’ theory with the claim of “yeah, he has people everywhere.” Of course he does, but that is not what the ‘He is many’ possibility refers to at all. Not for me anyway. This is all just conjecture of course, but I had to get it off my chest and I’m sure whichever way the writers lead us that it’ll be a thrilling, rewarding journey and ultimate conclusion.
Icing on the Cake
As a certain someone often points out, continuity is a very important thing and this episode was rife with it. The show could’ve easily just gone back to normal after the premiere and put the team back together. Instead, we have the much more likely and believable scenario of the team being reassigned and Lisbon suspended. Kudos to the writers for not taking the easy way out with that one. There is also some good continuity in the form of returning characters. We knew LaRoche was only temporary, so they could’ve just let him disappear from the show – but instead we get one final (for now) appearance that is not only significant, but adds another layer to an already complex character. I think we must thank Pruitt Taylor Vince for his brilliant performance; he’s welcome back any time. Last, but certainly not least we have the return of Rosalind Harker. She is the only one (that Jane knows of) to have been intimate with the man we know as Red John, so it makes perfect sense that Jane would contact her for help in identifying Carter’s body. Props to the writers once again for bringing this sense of continuity in the show. The recent news that Karen Cross (Missi Pyle), Erica Flynn (Morena Baccarin) and Brett Stiles (Malcolm McDowell) will all be returning this season shows that this trend will long continue into the shows future.
– My only real pet peeve with this episode is the aforementioned issue with Rigsby and his reluctance to help Lisbon. Don’t forget he also very nearly cost Cho his job last season in 3.12 Bloodsport by bringing him into his Daddy issues and forcing him to lie for him, something Cho had quite proudly never done to a fellow cop before. Looking back on other similar cases, maybe this is in fact completely in character and therefore shouldn’t count as a ‘pet peeve’ but something about it just didn’t sit right with me. For the record, I DO like Rigsby a lot. What do you think? Am I being too harsh on Rigsby? Please let me know what you think by voting in the poll below and sounding off in the comments!
– LaRoche has left. Booo! Hopefully he returns in the future.
My expectations for Season 4 have so far been met, and in this episode exceeded. The development of Jane/Lisbon in the premiere was very good under the circumstances, and that rich vein of character development carried on into this episode – particularly with the team as a whole, and how they need each other more than ever. When an episode manages to have excellent character interaction whist balancing it with other entertaining highlights and a pretty solid case, then you know you’ve done something right. A big thank you to all involved and particularly writer Tom Szentgyorgyi for a truly fantastic episode.
This was my first review, and is much less in depth than what you are likely accustomed to reading on this wonderful blog. I apologise for this, but I did my best! J I only included a single favourite scene and fused some of my favourite lines into the ‘other moments I liked’ section in order to shorten it down, not that it worked. Also, I realise I tend to go off on a tangent a lot – this is due to my passion for the show, I hope this shines through. I’d like to thank @brainyreviewer for giving me the opportunity to write this review. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.
Here are two promos for the upcoming episode 4.03 ‘Pretty Red Balloon’ airing October 6th. I can’t wait! 😀